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Community Crunch 255: Behind the LiveOps Curtain and More!


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Behind The LiveOps Curtain

Hey Survivors, we thought it might be a good time for a little Live Operations Dev Blog of sorts. We’ve been very busy behind the scenes and sometimes during that hive of activity, we may forget that our players enjoy details outside of “We’re busy with X, more info soon” etc. So let’s give you more of a glimpse behind the LiveOps curtain.

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LiveOps

LiveOps has been er...hectic of late. Let’s get straight to it.

Transfer Issues: We encountered some serious problems on our networking side that led to some players losing items and/or characters. We initially implemented a quick fix in order to address it as quickly as possible, then pivoted to working on a more long-term upgrade to make our system more robust.

We don’t find what occurred acceptable in the slightest and have some of our engineers focused on working alongside our host to upgrade the system and prevent these issues from occurring in the future. These specific problems were something we hadn’t encountered with the system in the past (even though the symptoms may appear similar to some of our players).

Anything resulting in data loss for our players is of critical importance to us and we apologise to those affected.

Meshing: Meshing is still a focus for the team - we’re constantly working on patching out methods and holes as we learn of them. We saw an uptick in meshing incidents on Playstation recently. In general, we’ve made significant strides in reducing meshing and, overall, incidents are way down in comparison to a year ago. That said, in a sandbox game, people always find new methods.

Some of our solutions to further counter meshing include:

  • Zipline patch. Players can no longer jump on a zipline to get through a small hole.
  • Implemented an automated system that will now try to detect projectiles, so when players are firing rockets, ziplines etc inside the mesh they will get destroyed before they’re able to make an impact. Unfortunately this system can’t hit every location but we’re happy to have made some impact in this regard.
  • World Borders: Soon, we will be updating world barriers on all maps so that anything outside of a world border will be destroyed. Boom. This is live on The Island on PC and there were some edge-case issues with it being oversensitive but that’s now been fixed and we’ll be rolling out to other platforms soon.


We consider our continued approach to meshing to be three pronged:

  • Better detection to prevent it in the first place
  • Destroying what has slipped through the cracks
  • Identifying specific areas that can be exploited and patching them.


We’ll share more on the world border changes when that goes live. 

 

Enforcement

Some of you don’t feel your reports lead to action so we want to share more info about the action taken against players who cheat or otherwise break our Code Of Conduct. We are working on some solutions for better visibility for those affected by cheaters into punishments and actions taken against players that are consistently ruining the game via third party software etc. We hope to roll those out in the near future.


Performance and Stability

Client and server performance was a focus through 2020.

That said, over the years, we’ve learned to stop counting dodos before they hatch in regards to how noticeable performance improvements are. But now that we can see the combined impact of a year's changes, we can confirm some tangible improvements when comparing performance at the start of 2020 to performance today.

Servers

Transfer system:

  • We completely moved to an in-network solution
  • Now have more control over what can go in and out of the system on a network level
  • This system is faster, more reliable, and more cost effective

(though it still needs some work to get it where it needs to be! ;))

DDoS protection:

  • We added additional hardware and software solutions to our already existent DDoS solution through Nitrado
  • Incoming traffic can be more finely tuned on the packet level rather than at a higher more general level than prior



Performance in-game

Structure placing and demolition performance update.

The most significant boost to performance in-game that we implemented on our Official Network last November is the structure placing/demo update.

Eliminated server calculation in relation to placing structures:

Previously the server had to do some massive calculations involving checking all snapped structures to the structure being replaced to verify structural integrity. That calculation has now been eliminated as it is a replacement rather than the placement of a new structure in a new area. This is most noticeable on busy servers with large save files.

Optimised server calculation for demolishing structures:

The demolish change was a reduction on how much is actually being calculated. It’s less complex in the way in which the server checks these things now so demolishing things will be less intensive aka “cheaper”on the server’s performance thereby reducing lag, stalls and/or server frame drops when demolishing.

We're not taking these gains as cause to stop iterating, though. There's still room to improve, so we’ll keep pushing those out throughout 2021 too.

 

Community feedback/connection

In some ways, when we update the game, we’re really updating something that’s no longer ours. It’s yours; it’s a creature, mechanic or DLC that millions of players may have grown to love, and we want to make sure we do good by you all first and foremost.

This is a reason why we released an Official Discord, so we can get more feedback from players on the direction we’re headed. Thanks to a breadth of functionality, lots of our players have embraced the ARK Discord as a semi-public community platform. We find observing our player's thoughts and chatter, along with sometimes interacting with you in a “live” medium useful and enjoyable. This along with the more traditional forums and various feedback channels helps us to stay connected to the community.


If you’ve made it this far, thank you for sticking your head behind the curtain with us. Do let us know if you find write ups like this interesting.


Studio Wildcard
 


EVO Event

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Survivors on all platforms will be receiving a special Evolution Event perk! It will be active until Thursday the 25th of February. All Official Servers across each platform will be undergoing this evolutionary change which includes:

  • 2X XP

 


Community Corner

🎥 Clips/Videos 🎥

🎥Creator: sotfleague

This week was the first monthly tournament for the player-run SoTF league with a prize pool. Icebox came through with first place in the duos.  This early game bow fight leads to a priceless reaction from the announcer.

🎥Creator: Syntac

Check out the latest Love Evolved update with Syntac!

🎥Creator: Alexby11

You have to answer when nature calls 💩 #ARKADIA

🎥Creator: AaronLongstaff1

Take a look at Aaron's stream of a Japanese-styled temple. He's building on Crystal isles, a perfect backdrop for this awesome build!

🎥Creator: Feederi XD

Throwback Clip: Fifi and tek jump pads go brrrrt

 

🎨 Fan Art 🎨

🎨 Sonne-Spiritwind - ARK: Coelophysis

ark__coelophysis_by_sonne_spiritwind_deegh0o-fullview.jpg

🎨 SlappyShotte - Com|Aberration

deefnle-67bfaef8-5676-4587-90eb-336b8243d204.jpg

🎨sis_6193 - Let's go home early

EtWkk7ZU0AE9uxS.jpg

🎨TekARK3 - Locke Terranova

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🎨 Slither06#9236 - Otter (Discord)

otter.jpg

 

📸 In-Game Screenshots 📸

 

📸 @mocco1218ga 

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📸 Sandi#9998

sandi.jpg

📸 Tinner The Big Red Dovah#2333

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📸 Vattghornn#9974

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Enjoy your weekend!
Studio Wildcard

Twitter: twitter.com/survivetheark
Discord: discord.com/invite/playark
Reddit: reddit.com/r/playark
Instagram: instagram.com/survivetheark
Twitch: twitch.tv/survivetheark
Steam: steamcommunity.com/app/346110
Youtube: youtube.com/survivetheark
Facebook: facebook.com/survivetheark


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Wow, a week to March 2021 and still no GENESIS 2 info. I bet next crunch will be SORRY, WE HAVE TO postpone release of Gen2 to September.

It is already a year after the original date published. Wild card has missed every date THEY have ever said. So..... it is should be no surprise. We won't see genesis 2 till next year, well Christmas

"Soon, we will be updating world barriers on all maps so that anything outside of a world border will be destroyed. Boom." SMH. This is such an unelegant way to handle meshing detection from both

Its good to see you are working on improving stability of the game but please dont forget whats going on on most (afaik) genesis and extinction official pve servers where long save time makes game clients disconnect due to timeout and then server does not allow to reconnect fast because "there is already someone connected with that account".

This makes the area where the player was not entering stasis immediately, and if player was doing veins/osd/missions this much likely means player killed, dinos killed, broken gear... rendering this maps to non playable status.

Edited by arkark
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3 minutes ago, Inannamute said:

I hope the world border stuff is more forgiving on PVE.. I recently lost everything I had on extinction because I was riding a skiff,  the server lagged, and with the speed of the skiff I couldn't get back inside the border fast enough. Genesis style borders are much better imo.

The border thing is killing people and dinos left right and center, They claim above that it has been fixed, but that is complete BS, it's still happening as of today, touch the wall, lose all your gear, be careful out there guys.

Edited by Sausagedog85
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7 hours ago, StudioWildcard said:

Performance in-game

Structure placing and demolition performance update.

The most significant boost to performance in-game that we implemented on our Official Network last November is the structure placing/demo update.

Eliminated server calculation in relation to placing structures:

Previously the server had to do some massive calculations involving checking all snapped structures to the structure being replaced to verify structural integrity. That calculation has now been eliminated as it is a replacement rather than the placement of a new structure in a new area. This is most noticeable on busy servers with large save files.

Optimised server calculation for demolishing structures:

The demolish change was a reduction on how much is actually being calculated. It’s less complex in the way in which the server checks these things now so demolishing things will be less intensive aka “cheaper”on the server’s performance thereby reducing lag, stalls and/or server frame drops when demolishing.

We're not taking these gains as cause to stop iterating, though. There's still room to improve, so we’ll keep pushing those out throughout 2021 too.

At about the same time these improvements were released, an hard-coded multiplier of 1.5x was introduced and is now applied to TheMaxStructuresInRange setting meaning that players can now build 15,750 instead of 10,500 on officials which I have a feeling is completely negating these optimizations to some extent. Not sure if this was added for debugging and profiling or if this was a permanent decision, but is there any plan to revert that at some point? It sure make configuring an unofficial server confusing, as if we set the limit to 100 we expect it to be 100; not 150.

7 hours ago, StudioWildcard said:

If you’ve made it this far, thank you for sticking your head behind the curtain with us. Do let us know if you find write ups like this interesting.

They certainly are, thanks for taking the time to elaborate more about that kind of stuff. Keep it coming, I always find it interesting to read!

59 minutes ago, arkark said:

official pve servers where long save time

I haven't actively played on officials for quite a while now, but I personally believe it is about time per-tribe limit gets reduced. With the introduction of Cryopods, tribes no longer need 500 tames and it could well be reduced to 2-300 in my opinion. Most tribes used to have hundreds of tames parked on display that they never use impacting everything from networking and save time for everyone. If players want to display their creatures then they can use taxidermy.

Edited by invincibleqc
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1 minute ago, invincibleqc said:

I haven't actively played on officials for quite a while now, but I personally believe it is about time per-tribe limit gets reduced. With the introduction of Cryopods, tribes no longer need 500 tames and it could well be reduced to 2-300 in my opinion. Most tribes used to have hundreds of tames parked on display that they never use impacting everything from networking and save time for everyone. If players want to display their creatures then they can use taxidermy.

Yes, the problem is that this two maps, due to how easy element farming is are saturated of giant bases with tons of cloners plus tons of dinos for selling / mutation breeding. 

But the long save times is not really the problem, I mean, I can live with 1 or even 2 minute save every 15 min, thats no problem, I accept it. Problem is that due to that long save times the game client (I think) believes that the server is down and disconnect with timeout message. And at the same time the server, after the save is done, still thinks we are connected so if Im doing an osd the zone where I am does not enter stasis and dinos and char get killed while we are waiting on the login lock screen.

I think optimal solution would just be increase the timeout of the game client when a save its being done. At least until more appropiated solution is found it would workaround this kind of timeout disconnections.

This is not only happening on the maps I play btw. Some months ago I considered relocating my bases to another servers and asked active playing friends about how they gen and ext were performing and almost all told me they are experiencing same thing on this two maps.

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"Soon, we will be updating world barriers on all maps so that anything outside of a world border will be destroyed. Boom."

SMH. This is such an unelegant way to handle meshing detection from both a coding and a policy perspective. Just more of the same lazy, half-assed approach to yet another aspect of this game. Sure, destroy hours of progress to teach those horrible meshers a lesson. Who cares if the vast majority of players are literally doing everything they can to NOT get meshed, to no avail due to whatever happens to be broken on any given week. 🤦‍♂️

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11 minutes ago, slejo said:

Wow, a week to March 2021 and still no GENESIS 2 info.
I bet next crunch will be SORRY, WE HAVE TO postpone release of Gen2 to September.

It is already a year after the original date published. Wild card has missed every date THEY have ever said. So..... it is should be no surprise. We won't see genesis 2 till next year, well Christmas if we are lucky. Oh and ark 2. That will be 5 years from now.

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12 minutes ago, Greatchawhee said:

It is already a year after the original date published. Wild card has missed every date THEY have ever said. So..... it is should be no surprise. We won't see genesis 2 till next year, well Christmas if we are lucky. Oh and ark 2. That will be 5 years from now.

Gen 2 original date was winter 2020 so the earliest window of release would have been December 2020, so no, it's not already a year. It was already delayed from Dec 2020 to Mar 2021.

The no news is not comforting certainly, but it's not going to be delayed to next year.

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X2 xp lol ur a joke WC, you first don't start a event in time took you days to get it started on ps4 not h, DAYS, and now you call a x2 xp a evolution event? Lmao get ur poop togheter you could of throw at least some dino maturation rates aling the usless x2 xp and make us a lil happy for the screw ups you keep bringing on us, very lame that much i can say.

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Finally an informative community crunch. Stick to this model.

"World Borders: Soon, we will be updating world barriers on all maps so that anything outside of a world border will be destroyed. Boom. This is live on The Island on PC and there were some edge-case issues with it being oversensitive but that’s now been fixed and we’ll be rolling out to other platforms soon."

That's why you need Q&A BEFORE releasing stuff like this. SOME???? edge-case issues? Everyone that touched the damned wall lost everything in every single case. A heads-up or a note in the patches would have been nice. I'm sure someone would have figured out the bug earlier and we wouldn't have been lab-rats for this issue. Not sure the problem has been fixed, as people still report it:

 

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